There is a saying, and it goes, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Among one of the many classic instances of fake Buddha wisdom, there is nothing more irritating than the person, usually the one who abused, that bandies this phrase like honey on toast. It is his way of telling you that your feelings of being very deliberately and personally maligned and abandoned are meaningless, in your head. This falsity of a statement designed to justify away essentially any bad behavior has only been increasingly validated in the present century, a time in which commitment to anything is viewed more as a pleasant surprise than an expectation or requirement in a relationship.
So it is that, men, more than any gender, seem to relish use of this misquoted platitude as a defense against any accusation of wrongdoing or life-ruining. For it is believed, in the male mind, that only you are capable of ruining your own life. Maybe, to a certain extent, this is true. But not when it comes to a man literally forcing himself into your life in the same stalker fashion we were taught to covet as a result of watching movies like Say Anything… (1989), Pretty Woman (1990), There’s Something About Mary (1998) and Love Actually (2003), all of which glamorize very overt stalker behavior in men. To the point where it’s so aggressive that one feels she has no other choice, that to rebuff him would be “rude” or “hurtful”–a method of thinking that Ariana Grande recently pointed out was unfair toward women upon being accused of somehow being responsible for ex-boyfriend Mac Miller’s continued self-destructive behavior after getting into a DUI-related car accident. In response to the criticism directed at her, she stated, “How absurd that you minimize female self-respect and self-worth by saying someone should stay in a toxic relationship because he wrote an album about them. I am not a mother or a babysitter and no woman should feel that they need to be.” And men certainly don’t, perfectly content to bounce at even the faintest sign of boredom. And yet they would prefer if we made it easier on their already so unburdened shoulders (Atlas they are not) and simply “forgive and forget” so that, more fittingly, they can forget all about their violations and offenses (the biggest offense of all typically being an inability to fuck well).
But they don’t need our help to forget–they’re already so capable of self-lobotomizing that it’s almost absurd that they should even pretend to care enough to want leave the scene with a “clean conscience” to feign an act as inane as “an apology.” Sometimes, in all honesty, a girl is better off without one, for the transparency of its meaninglessness is almost too much to bear. That a person would rather go to the arduous lengths of lying about why they have to leave as opposed to just staying is, to be sure, far more insulting.
While some might say that it’s just as unfair for a man to stay in a “toxic” relationship out of pity and obligation as it is for a woman à la Grande, the thing is, men are not subjected to the torture and torment of being made to feel constantly mediocre. For one thing, they’re essentially incapable of having any sense of shame over their comportment in the first place, everything rolling off their back like so many sheets of cold water designed to wake them the fuck up to their oblivion and selfishness. Ironically, of course, you, in your inability to “let go” are deemed the selfish one for not wanting to set someone “free.” All along, however, you were the one forced into the cage of his so-called love, only for him to leave you trapped inside while he’s permitted the luxury of flying away sans any sign of trauma or emotional onus.
photo credit: Roy Lichtenstein